Broken Pipes

What causes water damage from broken pipes?

Broken Pipes

Broken pipes can be caused by a variety of reasons. While sometimes it is as simple as normal wear and tears it is often a result of natural disasters. Depending upon where you live, you are likely well aware of the danger of frozen pipes in cold winters, cracks resulting from earthquakes, pressure changes, and high winds from hurricanes. But don’t ignore the danger of plain old rusty pipes.

What can I do when If discover a pipe that is broken?

A burst pipe can cause significant damage within a very short time. If you are looking at a frozen pipe, remember that water expands in volume by 9 per cent with great force. The pipe simply can’t sustain the pressure and so it breaks open. Unless you happen to be a plumber, you will want to call one immediately.

Follow these simple steps:

  • Find your water main and shut it off immediately.
  • Safety first. If you have ceilings ready to drop, stay clear of the area.
  • Shut off the electricity if the water is seeping into any of your wiring.
  • Open a faucet to help relieve the remaining pressure.
  • Put a bucket under the leak if possible.
  • Start your clean up. Get out the mops and buckets, the wet vac or anything you have and start getting rid of any water you can. The quicker the better to help reduce the spread of the damage and prevent mold.
  • Set up any fans to blow warm air into the impacted rooms.
  • Open doors to closets and pantries to let air in and give it a chance to dry.
  • Clean up any obvious damage as soon as you can.
  • Review your insurance policy and call your agent.
  • Call a water damage specialist

Can I prevent pipes from breaking and protect against damage from broken pipes?

Your home is likely your most valuable asset and it houses many of your precious possessions. There are preventative steps you can take to protect your home from water damage from broken pipes.

  • If you live in a cold climate be sure your pipes are adequately insulated.
  • Invest in a generator to warm your home in the event of a power outage
  • If you are closing your home up for the winter, hire a professional to winterize your home, which includes draining your pipes, hose bibs, etc.
  • If you are going out of town have a neighbor check in on your house.
  • Examine any small leaks that repair them immediately.
  • Be vigilant about the smells and sounds of dripping water, water stains or leaks.
  • Invest in a moisture alarm.
  • Inspect and service your AC regularly.

Will my insurance cover this?

Every policy is different. Your best source, of course, is always your agent and you should contact them immediately. Policies vary by limits, exclusions, and coverage.

As a general rule, homeowners policies will normally cover sudden and unexpected water damage due to plumbing malfunctions.  They will often exclude damage that happened slowly such as a slow, unattended leak or regional flooding. 

Many areas require flood insurance, and/or windstorm policies  as well so review all policies. Many policies also have specific language and limits on mold.

The three areas of your  policy you will want to review are :

Dwelling coverage: This applies to the structure of your house and built in appliances.

Property coverage: This includes clothing, Tv’s, furniture and other personal items. 

Additional Living Expenses : This will reimburse you for hotel, travel and food if you are displaced from your home.

Your insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to determine coverage and the extent of the damage. They will determine whether the leak could have been prevented. Water damage from lack of maintenance or normal wear and tear will not be covered.